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Your Free to Be News - March / April 2023

Stories of Redemption, Love, and Healing

Your Will Be Done

Our Free To Be prayer team has been praying the Lord’s Prayer over the last year for our team at large, for the organization as a whole, and for the churches and communities that we serve.

There is a particular part that my mind has hooked to as it relates to this year for Free To Be.

“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

The vision and mission of Free To Be have always been to help people live whole, empowered, and free to be who God has made them to be. The unhealed trauma, pain, and sin that people have experienced robs them of living fully and vitally as God had intended.

These last three years have intensified that and left us as more fractured individuals, churches, and communities. This is a new year and we feel an urgency to go deeper and be anchored, as an organization, and with the individuals, couples, and ministry leaders we serve, so that we may do our part to bring His kingdom and His will on earth as it is in heaven.

We know God has positioned us to be a beacon of His light in the northeast Ohio area and are called to cultivate more healing, more hope, more strength, more unity, and more of His compassion and love.

This year we want to increase our financial support and build a robust compassionate care fund so that we may more effectively serve individuals/people groups who cannot afford services themselves.

We want to provide more opportunities for…

  • trauma-informed programming and services

  • wholistic healing and spiritual formation,

  • increased somatic services/trauma-informed movement, art therapies, grief groups, prayer retreats, and conferences /seminars for all ages and populations.

We also want to increase our service to and work more collaboratively with, churches and community organizations, serving more effectively together. Through our referral partnerships, and our Free To Lead programming we provide opportunities for healing for leaders as well as trauma–informed ministry training.

Please join us in praying for, co-laboring, and financially supporting us in the work of His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Sarah Experiences Freedom

It’s why we do what we do – partnering with the Lord in how He wants to bring hope, healing, and freedom into beautiful lives like Sarah's.

I pray as you read Sarah’s words that they speak to you as they did us, that you will see and know God’s amazing hand at work in the lives of his beloved, and that it’s through the generosity of people like you that helps us to be able to share redemptive stories like these.

“It was September 2020…the entire world was suffering in the wake of the global COVID pandemic. Like many people, I carried my own baggage and suffering into that communal time of suffering, which only exacerbated how I was feeling personally.

As far back as I can remember, I have always had a hyperactive mind and heart. I am constantly thinking, and have always had a hard time “quieting my mind”. I feel everything…when people around me are happy, I feel joy…when people around me are suffering, my heart breaks.

I think and overthink, feel, and over-feel. This is who I am and how God designed me…but the enemy has a way of taking a good design, finding a crack, and working his way into any situation. He saw my active brain, and found ways to fill it - he saw my bleeding heart and found ways to drain it.

I didn't always know what it was called, but it was always there…as far back as I can remember….I haven’t been able to quiet my mind. This wasn’t always a “bad thing”, in fact, many times, it served and still serves me quite well - when the ideas are flowing, the voice in my head is positive, hopeful, and life-giving…but when the voice in my head is oppressive, condescending, doubt-inspiring, fear invoking…it robs me of my peace…and I didn’t know how to manage it effectively.

It reached a boiling point for me in the fall of 2020 when everything in my life seemed to be in a season of suffering. The intensity at work, home, and the world was immense, and I had reached a point where the anxiety I felt was crippling. I would labor in prayer and try new things each day to overcome how I was feeling, but nothing was changing.

One of my best friends referred me to Leigh-Ann Brisbin, at Free to Be Ministries because she had experienced so much freedom from her own personal struggles and suffering through the Integrative Prayer & Counseling services. I had been to a lot of coaches that helped me with “mindset” training and executive skills over the years - both individually and in group programs.

While these services helped professionally with my development and brought awareness to areas that needed further development and strengthening, I always found myself back where I started - operating out of a fearful and anxious heart and mind. But, I went to Free to Be with an open, hopeful mind and each session revealed more and more insight into what was keeping me anxious and stuck.

The approach that Free to Be used was totally different than anything I had ever experienced before. Most importantly, the approach was rooted in the Gospel and Leigh-Ann used her clinical training and experience beautifully to help me understand the difficult dynamics of the suffering I was experiencing, and she let the Lord reveal what was at the source of this suffering…she let the Lord reveal the “root” of the wounds in my heart.

The most beautiful part of this process is that for the first time in my life, I truly heard the Father speaking directly to me…through pictures He would give me during the prayer time in our sessions, through songs that would play on the radio, through gentle words that people would speak, devotions I was reading…everything was connected and there was no coincidence in any of it…it was Divine.

Getting to the root of my wounds, and letting the Father re-write the stories in my heart and mind literally transformed me. I have always been faithful, prayerful, and Christ-loving, but I didn’t know how to quiet my mind and heart, make space for him to come into my interior life, and heal me.

Life is hard, and there is suffering on this side of Heaven…but the beautiful thing that I learned through this process is how to hold joy and suffering in my heart at the same time and how to let God’s truth penetrate and defeat the lies of the enemy. It is a life-long process, but I feel equipped and I know that when life’s struggles are too hard for me to tackle on my own with the Lord, I have a place and people to turn to to help me.

I felt so passionate about my experience with Free to Be Ministries, that I wanted to help the Ministry in any way that I could. The opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors opened up, and after prayerful discernment, I committed to serving the Ministry in this way - through the board of directors. I want to help others experience the same healing freedom that I have experienced and continue to experience through the Integrative approaches that Free to Be Ministries provides to let the Father bring healing to mind, body, and spirit.”

Thank You, Celia!

Celia Huffman has a heart for bringing healing and hope to people and has seen firsthand God at work through Free to Be doing just that! I am so thankful for Celia’s partnership and all the ways she supports us.

I recently asked Celia to share with us what makes her want to partner with us and her response captured my heart! It still blows me away – God’s faithfulness and how he continues to use Free to Be to impact lives like Celia's so in turn, she can impact countless others!

Celia and I met several years ago at the church she attended. She was struggling with some personal difficulties at the time and I asked if she would try integrative prayer counsel. She said yes and the rest is all history and we quickly became friends. During that time the Lord led me to start Free to Be Ministries and Celia told me, “I want to support your work in any way I can.”

Celia has continued to be our longest supporter and I am beyond thankful for her continued generosity! She says, “I have experienced and am still experiencing in my personal life the power in integrative prayer and counsel and the healing that continues. I believe so strongly in all that Free to Be stands for and all that they do in working with the Holy Spirit to bring healing to countless others. I consider myself privileged to play a role in that. I have shared the work of Free to Be with friends, some of whom have both taken advantage of the integrative prayer and counsel and also contributed financially to the ministry.”

And the best part is Celia is going through our cohort and is passionate about through the Lord, helping others experience freedom!

“The Lord has used Leigh-Ann and Free to Be's integrative prayer and counsel to effect massive healing in my life...which continues to this day. Through this, He is also leading me to help and comfort others through the help and comfort I have received. That is currently manifested through His leading to become an integrative prayer counselor. I am presently completing the Free to Be cohort training and also pursuing other credentials to prepare myself for the purpose and plan He is leading me toward...step by step. To quote Dr. Tony Evans...there is purpose in the pain...Abba Father has shown me the truth that lies so firmly therein.”

We are so grateful for Celia who supports Free to Be with her time, prayers, and finances – and for her heart and compassion!

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